Real Answers from Real Pilots

Young CPA considering career change!

Hi all,

I’m a 25 year old CPA with a PPL and instrument rating - about 180 hours. I can’t shake the desire to want to fly for a living. I have always dreamed of doing it, I just decided to become a CPA because I already make decent money at 25. I’m looking for advice on my situation, either from people with experience in the same situation / young career change. I also wonder if the best way to get to 1500 hours is to do something like ATP or just try to do it on my own in my spare time (I have very little). It would be tough for us to live on my wife’s salary alone while I do the ATP course.

When I’m at work, I think about how much I’d rather be flying. I always wonder though at what point flying, something that I love, simply becomes “work” and does it ruin the joy in flight?

Thanks
Zach

Hi Zach,

Please allow me to chime in, although I’m not young. I find your post interesting since you’re a CPA and these are all numbers questions. First you ask what’s best “maybe try and do it on my own in my spare time” which you immediately say you have very little of. Sooooo really what’s the question? Trying to build 1500hrs with “little spare time” (let’s say 2hrs a week) would take you over twelve years. Not very efficient or effective BUT by then you probably would know if you still have a passion for it. The other thing to consider is while I appreciate taking 6mos of from life can be very challenging economically I suggest you run the numbers. First airline pilots have a very finite number of years they can fly since mandatory retirement is at 65. Major airline Capts are now earning over $300k a year. Every year you delay that’s $300k you’re NEVER going to see (and 15% that’s not going into your retirement). I have know idea your current income but I’m willing to bet the income loss and sacrifice now would be more than compensated for later in life.

As for the love turning to work that is obviously different for all. I LOVE flying and I love my job. However, 2yrs ago I moved up to the Big Leagues and starting flying the A330 all over the Pacific. This is the dream right? Fly a Heavy to Asia, Australia etc. Frankly I really don’t enjoy it and it was starting to feel like a job. What to do? I bid back to the 717 which flies Interisland. Not as prestigious and the money’s not as good but I’m not here for the money. Now some pilots love it and that’s great for them. We often get asked by newbies on here why would anybody ever bid back to a smaller airplane from a bigger one? Bigger is better right? Well not always. Bottomline you need to do what you enjoy vs chasing the money (unless that’s what you enjoy). Do that and I don’t think you need to worry.

Adam